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Slovenia is famous for its crystal lakes and snowy ski resorts, and is a Balkan country with a rich cultural heritage. Whether you want to laze by the Adriatic Sea or ski in the Alpine valley, Slovenia is the perfect place for a holiday.
If you’re heading to this land of castles and lakes for a short trip, here are the top things to do in Slovenia in 3 days.
In February we saw all of these places over 3 days, I had two small kids in tow, so if ypu’re without kids, you could probably add in a few more stops.
The glacial Bledsko Jezero or Lake Bled in the Julian Alps may also be the most visited lake in Slovenia. With its sparkling blue waters against the backdrop of the mountains, Lake Bled looks like it popped right out of a fairytale. The Assumption of Mary Church on Bled Island in the middle of the lake and its legendary bell is also a must-see.
Lake Bled is perfect for swimming, boating, kayaking, sky diving, windsurfing, hiking, paddling, ballooning, diving, cycling, and hiking in summer; and in winter it’s a wonderland for skiing, ice skating, sledding, and snowboarding.
Lake Bled is also the home of the famous Lake Bled Cream Cake or kremna rezina, that’s famous among the locals as kremšnita. The current version originally made by chef Istvan Lukacevic at the Park Hotel in 1953, over 12 million cakes have been sold to date. If there’s only one thing you have to eat at Lake Bled, this is it!
No visit to the town of Bled is complete without a visit to the 11th-century Bled Castle which is Slovenia’s oldest. The castle sits atop a 130 m cliff and requires a steep hike to the top; but once you’re there, you’re compensated with gorgeous views of the lake below.
The 16th-century Gothic Chapel inside the castle dedicated to Bishop St Albuin and St Ingenuin has lovely baroque imagery and illusionist frescoes. It’s easy to spend the whole day at the castle gazing at the architecture, wandering through the museum, learning how to bottle wine in the cellar, or enjoying lunch in the restaurant.
Nestled beneath the Triglav Mountain, Lake Bohinj forms a beautiful reflection of the skies and mountains surrounding it. A perfect place for water sports in summer and skiing in winter, it’s the largest permanent lake in Slovenia. There’s a lot to see and do around Lake Bohinj, including the following:
- Go horse riding, canyoning, hiking, and cycling around the lake
- Enjoy swimming, kayaking, boating, paddling, rafting, diving, and other water sports in Lake Bohinj
- Take the panoramic cable car ride up to Mount Vogel
- Ski on Mount Vogel in summer
- Hike in the nearby Triglav National Park and Mostnica Gorge
- See the old brick bridge in Ribcev Laz and visit the Church of St. John the Baptist
- Take pictures at the pier next to Bus Station Voglom
- Hike the 500 steep steps to the A-shaped Savica Slap waterfall and gaze into its emerald pools
- Visit the alpine village of Stara Furzina and see the 18th-century Devil’s Bridge
- Visit the site of the old Pantz Cableway in the Sava Bohinjka Gorge
- Take the 2-hour ride on Bohinj’s vintage steam train
- Visit the archaeological settlement of Ajdovski Gradec from the Early Iron Age
Town Of Radovljica
A charming medieval town in the Upper Carnolian Alps, Radovljica is known as the town with the most sun in Gorenjska. Because of its bee-keeping activities and chocolate sales, it’s also called Sweet Radolca.
Walking through town center Linhart Square and the old baroque park is a pleasure to the eyes. The Chocolate Festival every April sees local and foreign chocolate offer delicious tastings for over 3 days. The Museum of Apiculture takes you through traditional Slovenian beekeeping; and then there’s Čebelica or Little Bee, the municipal building with its colorful bee-themed entrance.
For a taste of the local Slovenian food, head over to the Gostilna Kunstelj Radovljica. Gostilna Kunstelj has been serving traditional cuisine in the heart of Radovljica for years. The Kunstelj Inn’s wine cellar here serves some of the best wines from Debenjak, Pupis, Dolenje Gradišče, and other famous Slovenian winemakers. The Hunter’s Room here was a favorite dining spot of the former Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito.
Serving fresh produce grown in their own garden as well as seasonal delicacies, the outdoor restaurant is the perfect spot to enjoy a truly local lunch or dinner while looking out at the Sava River. Try the grilled trout fillet with oatmeal risotto, kielbasa with horseradish, sauteed calf’s liver, and the Radol’ca Cake.
Gostilna Kunstelj Radovljica is located at Gorenjska Cesta 9, 4240 Radovljica and is open from 6 PM to 10 PM on Wednesday and Thursday, and from 12 PM TO 10 PM from Friday to Sunday.
Russian Chapel On The Vrsic Pass
Dedicated to St. Vladimir, this wooden chapel on the Vrsic Pass was built by Russian prisoners of war during World War I. The simple chapel is surrounded by the graves of Russian POW’s and has a pyramid-shaped memorial reading “To the sons of Russia” on the right of the chapel. Since it’s a short drive from Kranjska Gora, it’s good to base yourself here while visiting.
Kranjska Gora is also a good base to visit Lake Jasna which is about 2 km away. The stunning alpine lake in Northwestern Slovenia has breathtaking mountain views, beautiful white sands, and aquamarine waters. A dark bronze statue of the legendary Goldenhorn or Zlatorog chamonix from Mount Triglav guards the lake and affords one the opportunity to pose here.
In summer the lake is perfect for picnicking, swimming, fly fishing, sunbathing, rafting, and hiking around the lake. There’s also a popular wooden 3-level turret-shaped diving platform that was built in 2015. There is also a ‘Library by the Lake’, ice cream parlors, beer bars, and a lookout tower for photographs.
In winter the lake freezes over and is perfect for ice skating or just frolicking in the snow, and drinking mulled wine.
Town Of Kranj
Known as the cultural heart of Slovenia and the capital of the Slovenian Alps, Kranj was the hometown of poet France Prešeren whose sculptures you’ll find all around the town. A distinct and important feature of the town is the Kokra River Canyon right in the center. This makes Kranj a great place to go hiking or swimming, and residents of this town can enjoy a tryst with nature just minutes away from their busy town life.
Kranj Old Town is also famous for the 15th-century St. Kancijan’s Church that towers over the town, and the Ossuary under the church that holds the bones of centuries of the dead who were buried here. There’s also the 1300 meters of hidden World War 2 tunnels where the townsfolk took shelter during air raids, the 16th-century Khislstein Castle that now houses the Gorenjska Museum. Kranj is a great place to stroll through leisurely and enjoy a meal in the little cafes around town.
Brdo Castle and Estate
The 16th-century Renaissance period Brdo Castle has been home to many aristocratic families and in modern times has welcomed diplomats, kings, and presidents. Prince Paul of Yugoslavia, President Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia, Prince Edward VIII of the UK, President George W. Bush, Queen Elizabeth II, and Pope John Paul II, and President Vladimir Putin have all been hosted here. The castle is replete with paintings and sculptures by Slovenian artists, crystal chandeliers, furniture from different eras, ornamental rugs and a large library.
The Brdo Estate surrounding the Brdo Castle is managed by the Protocol Office of the Republic of Slovenia as a venue for state events. The 18th-century Brdo Park that’s also part of the estate was designed by the Zois brothers and is filled with lovely paths, lakes and bridges, and perfect for horse carriage rides and picnics on the lawn. Brdo Estate is also home to a short natural golf course and Brdo Congress Center. The luxurious Hotel Brdo is under renovation till 2021 but is the perfect place to have a wedding.
A stunning sight! This Renaissance fortress protrudes from the mouth of a karst cave on a 123-meter high cliff. Originally called Luegg in the 13th-century, you can find Predjamski Grad or Predjama Castle in Predjama Village.
The ingenuously created castle is one of Slovenia’s important architectural marvels and is listed in the Guinness Book of Records. It now serves a museum that showcases life in the 16th-century with the rebel knight Erasmus; and in summer, tourists can also visit the bat cave under the castle. The castle that inspired George Martin, the writer of the series Game of Thrones is definitely worth a visit!
About 9 km from Predjama Castle and 2 km from Postojna village, are the infamous Postojna Caves, Slovenia’s second-largest cave system. Created by the River Pivka millions of years ago, the graffiti inside the caves shows that they’ve been in use since the before 13th-century. After Archduke Ferdinand visited them in 1819, the caves became a popular tourist destination.
Visitors to the cave can travel on the miniature train and on foot to see the massive formations of stalactites and stalagmites. You’ll also see the largest troglodytic amphibian in the world called “olm” or “human fish”. The massive Concert Hall in the cave can accommodate 10,000 people and many symphony orchestras have been held here. The fairytale-like cave is a must-visit in Slovenia!
That’s our itinerary for a 3 day trip to Slovenia. Will you add it to your bucket list for this amazing country?